Mary Anne Begg Isbister

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Mrs Wm Isbister 3

Mary Anne Begg Isbister with son,, photographed c. 1870.

Mary Anne Begg was born in 1847 at Batchawana Bay (north of Sault Ste Marie) to  Charles Robert Begg and Catherine Spence.

Mary Anne married William Isbister who was born in 1835 at Oxford House to John Isbister (an interpreter with the Hudson’s Bay Company) and Frances ‘Fanny’ Sinclair. William was baptized in 1842 at Norway House.

Mary Anne died 20 Feb 1926.


Mary Anne’s mother, Catherine Spence, was born 11 December 1824 at Red River Settlement to George Spence (1773-1859) of Orkney, Scotland, and Catherine Tchi-Tchit, a Sarcee woman (but also identified as Cree). Catherine Tchi-Tchit and George Spence married according to the custom of the country c. 1811 and by church rite on 2 May 1828 at St John’s, Red River Settlement. The couple lived in the parish of St. Clement’s a.k.a Mapleton. They had at least four children (their daughter Catherine Spence was baptized 31 December 1827 at St. John’s). Catherine Tchi-Tchit died in 1865.

Mary Anne’s father, Charles Robert Begg, was born in 14 February 1814 at Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland, to Robert Begg and Margaret Smith. Charles Robert Begg was a sailor/ fisher and was listed as of Favel, Sandwick, Orkney (likely his last home port), at the time of signing on as a Hudson’s Bay Company servant on 12 May 1831 on Wyre Isle, Sandwick, Orkneys. From 1836–1839 Charles was a servant of the Hudson’s Bay Company, employed as a boatman and slooper. He married Catherine Spence on 16 May 1844. After serving variously at Hudson Bay, Red River, and Lake Superior as boatman and slooper, as well as interpreter, post master, and clerk – he retired in 1867 to farm with his wife and their son, Robert Begg, in St. Andrews, and later, Mapleton, Red River Settlement. [See HBCA, “Begg, Charles (b. ca. 1815) (fl. 18311865)” biographical sheet.]

Mary Anne Begg Isbister had eight siblings.

Duncan Begg, born 1835.

Margaret Begg born 1848. Or, Margaret Begg born on c. 10/ 11 January 1852, who married George Mitchell, who was born c. 1849 at Coventry, Warwickshire County, England.

Charles Begg born 1851.

Katherine Begg, born 1852.

James Robert Begg, born 1860.

Ellen Begg, born 1863.

Mary Anne Begg Isbister married on .


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